Posted on May 22nd, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting lives in so many ways, including forcing people to be home all the time.
Now that you’re trapped in your house all day, every day, are you noticing that you have some issues with the quality of your indoor air?
You can improve air quality in home with the right steps, though, and this is an essential issue to address now that life is different.
So, what steps can you take to improve your indoor air quality? Here are some easy ones that may help you achieve this goal.
Replace the Air Filter in Your HVAC System
As the weather warms up, you’re more likely to start using your central air conditioning system to cool your house. If you’ve already turned your AC on, did you think to check the air filter in it?
The air filter in your HVAC system plays a role in the quality of your indoor air. If the filter is dirty, it will not be able to remove impurities from your air. The result is an increase in toxins and contaminants in your air.
One simple step to take to improve your indoor air is changing this filter. You should change is as often as needed, or you can get on a regular schedule of replacing it every three months.
When you have a clean air filter, it will clean the air more thoroughly, leaving the air in your home cleaner and fresher.
If you’re home more now than ever, you may go through air filters faster. So, you should check yours every month.
Test the Humidity to Ensure It Is Within Normal Parameters
The next step to take is testing the humidity levels in your home. The normal parameters for a home are 30% to 50%.
If your humidity level is below 30%, it is probably too dry in your house. Dry air tends to irritate skin and can trigger allergy and respiratory issues.
When the humidity level in a home reaches a percentage higher than 50%, the air can be uncomfortable and hard to breathe. At this humidity level, mold can develop and can contaminate the air.
Your indoor air quality will suffer if the humidity level is not within the suggested range.
If you test it and find that it is not right, you can use a dehumidifier to lower the rate. If the level is too low, you can use a humidifier to increase it.
Open the Windows When It Is Nice Outside
One cause of poor indoor air quality is a lack of ventilation. If you run your central AC system, it will distribute the air throughout your home, which helps prevent stagnant air.
If you are not running your AC system, you should consider opening your windows. Opening your windows allows fresh air to come in and stagnant air to go out. It exchanges the dirty, contaminated air you have with cleaner air.
Did you know that the air in a typical house has two to five times as many contaminants as outdoor air? If you can replace indoor air with outdoor air, you’ll instantly have cleaner air to breathe while you are in your home.
During this lockdown, you might not be able to leave your home, but that shouldn’t stop you from getting fresh air. You can still go outside or bring the outside air in by opening your windows.
Get Some Plants
Another easy way to improve your indoor air is by getting some houseplants. Having plants in your home provides a lot of incredible benefits, including cleaner air.
Houseplants take in the carbon dioxide in your home’s air and transform it into oxygen. Houseplants, therefore, serve the role of cleaning the air in your home.
This benefit is not the only advantage offered by plants, though. They also clean the toxins from the air, and they boost healing.
Run the Exhaust Fan When Cooking
Anytime you cook food in your home, the process required in cooking creates toxins in the air. The toxins come from burning fuel in your oven or on your stove. They come from the steam produced from the foods you cook.
Imagine how your house smells after cooking broccoli. While broccoli probably doesn’t leave toxins in your home from cooking it, it will leave bad odors. Bad odors affect the quality of your indoor air.
If you use the exhaust fan while you cook, you can remove a lot of the odors and toxins from the air. You’ll also remove heat and moisture from your house as you cook.
A kitchen exhaust fan pulls the heat, moisture, fumes, and toxins out of your home through a vent. You’ll notice a big difference in the quality of your air if you make a habit of using this fan every time you cook.
Now that you’re home more often, you might be cooking more meals at home. Cooking more than you used to can lead to a decrease in the quality of your indoor air.
Purchase a Home Air Purifier
If you want to see a noticeable difference in the quality of your air without waiting long, you should buy a home air purifier system. You can buy a cheap one from the store, or you can buy one from an HVAC company.
The cheaper ones are portable and easy to use. You just place it in a room, plug it in, and turn it on. It will filter the contaminants out of the air in your house, leaving you with fresher air.
A whole-home air purification system provides a more effective way to clean your air. A portable system can only clean a small amount of the air in a home, whereas a whole-home system cleans all the air.
You can learn more about air purifiers and other ways to clean your air by checking out our blog.
Improve Air Quality in Home by Getting Your HVAC System Cleaned
Are you ready to take action to improve air quality in home? If so, following these tips may help you see a significant improvement in your home’s air quality.
You can also learn more about this subject by contacting us to learn about the services we offer to help you improve your indoor air quality.
Call us today or visit our site to learn more!
Posted on May 14th, 2020
Summer is coming! As the warmer weather begins to set in, many of us in Utah County are turning on our air conditioners, ready to feel the nice air cool down our homes. But when the air isn’t coming out cold – you know there’s a problem!
We get many calls from our clients in the summer saying that they can hear their outside unit running, and air is flowing, just not very much. Sometimes the air is even warm. Many people think that this warm air flow means that their unit is low on refrigerant, and that it needs to be “topped off.” Most of the time they are mistaken. That is only one of many reasons why the air coming from your vents is not cold.
Often, the biggest culprit is a dirty air filter. That’s right, 75% of the time, a simple filter change can fix the problem. A dirty air filter can restrict the airflow and cause even more problems. The best way to know if your filter is clean, is to hold it up to the light and see if you can see the light through the filter. If not, it’s time to replace it.
Also check and make sure that all of your vents are open. Sometimes home owners will shut supply vents to route the air differently in their home. Other times they block the return air vents with furniture. This is not good. Air conditioners need air to function, so make sure that no vents are blocked.
It is super easy to check filters and vents. When the air flow is blocked, it can possibly freeze the indoor air coil. This coil sits on top of your furnace. When the indoor coil is frozen, the refrigerant cannot move through it properly, thus the air flow does not cool off.
(Click to watch to our owner, Ryan Snow, share best practices for a broken a/c)
When this happens, the best solution is to change the settings on your thermostat. There will be a setting on your thermostat with options of “heat,” “cool,” and “off.” Change it from “cool” to “off,” and then set the fan from “auto” to the “on” position. This continual movement of air will help your coil to thaw so that it can start functioning properly again.
If the coil continues to freeze up, then it most likely is dirty and clogged. At that point, it’s best to have a certified technician come and clean the coil. Coils are very delicate and this process must be done carefully and thoroughly. Please thaw your coil before a technician comes to your home.
If you are certain that your filter is clean, and your vents are open, then it is possible that you are low on refrigerant. Call a certified technician so they can come and set up their gauges to measure the levels, and give an overall evaluation of the system to determine what is causing the problem.
We have fully trained and certified technicians at Western Heating & Air Conditioning that are ready to assist. Please call us at 385-273-3200 to schedule an appointment, or visit www.WesternHeatingAir.com.
Posted on April 27th, 2020
5 Signs That You Need to Replace Your AC
When it comes to replacing your home’s cooling equipment, you have two options: wait until it dies or do it before. Keep in mind that if your air conditioner dies, it won’t happen when the air is cool outside.
Your best option is to get a new air conditioner before your unit fails. So how do you know when to replace it? Here are some guidelines for making the decision.
You don’t get the cooling you need
If, despite proper maintenance, your unit struggles to cool your home, it may be time to replace it. One of the early signs of a unit about to go kaput is a drop in performance.
It makes funny noises
An air conditioner isn’t quiet but if your unit becomes excessively loud and your neighbors start giving you dirty looks, it may be time to replace it. Moving parts wear out over time and the longer you force it to work, the closer you’ll be to the inevitable demise of your cooling system.
Your electricity consumption rises
As your unit ages, the efficiency drops off. The first place that will feel this effect is your pocket. Your air conditioner will consume more electricity to meet your cooling demands, increasing your bill.
It uses R22 refrigerant
R22 refrigerant is an HCFC (or hydrochlorofluorocarbon) that depletes the ozone layer. It was the standard refrigerant for residential units for many years but is being phased out as part of an international agreement. Even though you are not required to replace your unit, obtaining replacement R22 for servicing will become more difficult as it is phased out. The replacement refrigerant, R410A, can be used in R22 units but it needs a retrofit kit. Considering the age of most R22 air conditioners, your best bet is to replace it with the environmentally friendly alternative.
Speaking of age, not everything improves like fine wine. After ten or fifteen years, keeping an air conditioner just doesn’t make sense. Even if you’ve managed to keep it well-maintained, the drop off in performance means you’ll be spending way more to keep your home comfortable. It might cost you up front, but upgrading to a new unit (with a higher efficiency) will save you in the long run.
If you’re seeing any of these signs that you need to replace your air conditioning unit, give the experts at Western Heating & Air Conditioning call at 385-273-3200 and we can keep you cool this summer. We are also offering virtual replacement calls to ensure your safety. Visit www.WesternHeatingAir.com to schedule yours today!
Posted on April 27th, 2020
Sometimes it’s easy to get stuck in a rut, even with an HVAC system. You might be too busy to think about it but procrastinating can cost you more in the long run.Here are some signs you need to discard the old and bring in the new.
Your furnace is noisy
If your furnace makes too much noise and you’re up to date with maintenance, it may be time for an upgrade. A noisy fan is an inefficient fan and can fail at any time. Take this as a sign that you’ve had your furnace too long and it’s time to get something new. You’ll benefit right away from a system that operates more quietly and efficiently.
You have cold or hot spots in your house
Cold spots in your house could signal a poorly working fan or struggling burners. Hot areas in the summer could be caused by an air conditioner that just can’t keep up. Get whole-house temperature control back with upgraded equipment.
You have to wait long to reach your desired temperature
A furnace close to the end of its life will struggle to keep up, as will an air conditioner that’s too old. Besides being noisy, you’ll find yourself shivering while your heating equipment tries to catch up. If you have to wait longer than usual for your home to warm up or cool down, it’s time to upgrade.
Your energy bills are climbing
Speaking of efficiency, the less efficient your system, the more you have to pay for the same output. It will consume more electricity and more gas just to keep your home at the same temperature as a newer system using less energy. Do yourself a favor and let go of the energy consuming HVAC equipment. Save money and the environment with a new, more efficient system.
Repairs are more frequent (and more expensive)
You might think you’re saving money by holding on to old equipment. But the cost of repairs can add up quickly. If you find the cost and frequency of repairs increasing, it’s time to consider an upgrade.
Your equipment is old
Even if you’re not spending a whole lot on repairs (yet), older equipment is costing you. Lower efficiency costs you money and the risk of a sudden breakdown costs you peace of mind. You also run the risk of safety issues if your burners start producing more carbon monoxide or your condensing unit starts leaking refrigerant.
Protect your family by knowing when it’s time to ditch old equipment.If you need to talk to someone about upgrading your HVAC equipment, give us a call and we can help you make the right decision.
Posted on April 14th, 2020
There’s nothing quite like waking up on a cold morning to find your house is almost as cold inside as outside. Or to turn up the heat to get things a little warmer only to find there’s no heat coming out.
Furnace problems are no fun, in fact, they’re downright worrisome. How will we stay warm? How much will the repair cost?
Don’t assume because you don’t have heat the worst has happened. Sometimes when a furnace is not working it can be something small and easy to fix.
Read on for 9 common furnace problems to consider if you are not getting heat from your furnace.
When a furnace isn’t producing heat, one of the most common problems is related to the furnace filter.
From just doing their job day in and day out the furnace picks up dust and dirt from your home and inside the ductwork. That’s the whole job of the filter, to catch that before it gets to the mechanical parts of the furnace.
When the furnace filter is dirty, it can move the warm air from the furnace and you won’t feel it in your house.
Replacing your furnace filters should be part of your regular furnace maintenance.
The thermostat tells you what temperature it wants the furnace to heat your house. It tells it to turn on if it’s cold and likewise to click off if it’s at the desired temperature.
Your furnace could be in perfect working order and the problem is with the thermostat.
First, make sure the thermostat is actually turned on. It can’t tell the furnace to work unless it is powered on. Be sure to check the batteries on your thermostat. Changing thermostat batteries should also be part of your regular maintenance routine.
3. Electric Ignition or Pilot Light
If your furnace won’t turn on, once thing to consider is the pilot light.
If you have an older furnace that runs with a constantly lit pilot light and this blows out, your furnace won’t click on to make heat. The pilot needs to be relit.
If you have a more modern furnace, an electric ignition lights your pilot light as heat is needed. If your ignition system runs with a thermocouple, it might be time to call the furnace repair service.
Airflow issues can arise in a few ways. The first was already addressed, through your air filter if it’s clogged.
If air is not coming through your vents, check to make sure the vents are opened up.
Another issue related to airflow is leaking in your ductwork. The furnace might be making the heat but before it can be delivered to the rooms in your house it’s escaping.
Finally, be sure to look around your furnace. So many people pile things in their basements and the furnace area gets more and more congested and even dirty. This prevents the furnace from working at its peak.
5. Heat Exchanger
Your furnace has something called a heat exchanger. Over time, with no regular maintenance, the heat exchanger can start to crack.
If the heat exchanger starts to crack, carbon monoxide can be released back into your home. If you have a carbon monoxide detector (and you should) and it is giving you warnings, it’s time to have your furnace checked out.
Regular furnace maintenance helps to avoid this issue.
When a furnace is cycling it means it is turning on and off over and over again.
This doesn’t make for good energy efficiency and indicates there is some problem going on with the furnace.
Often a cycling furnace means the filter is clogged and air can’t get through causing the furnace to turn on and off.
If the furnace filter is good and there appears to be good airflow around the furnace, you want to contact a furnace specialist as there may be something more serious going on.
7. Not Enough Heat
Again, check the filter as this often the cause when the furnace is producing heat but just not enough.
If the filter is clean and you are still not getting enough heat, make sure the vents in the cold room are open.
Check the airflow around the furnace air.
Is there a big temperature differential between rooms? Start to look at visible ductwork. Feel the ducts for warmth or warm air escaping.
If none of these are the answer, it’s time to bring in the furnace specialist.
8. No Heat
If your furnace is producing no heat, don’t panic and assume the worst.
First, check the thermostat is on, clicked to heat and has good working batteries. Once those things are checked, try turning the thermostat up to see if it will kick on and get you heat.
It might also mean the circuit breaker blew. Flip the circuit breaker switch on your electrical panel and then click it back on.
If those things don’t work, it’s time to call the professionals.
9. Noisy Sounds
You get to know the sounds of your furnace. You hear it click on. You hear the blower sending warm air into your ducts. You know what it sounds like when it clicks off too.
If suddenly, you are hearing out of the ordinary sounds from your furnace, pay attention. Your furnace should not squeak, rattle or rumble.
Again, it could be a sign of something minor like a clogged furnace filter.
It could also be a sign there is a belt loose or some pending mechanical issue. If you go through this checklist and are still hearing out of the ordinary noises from your furnace, call in a professional for an inspection.
Avoid Furnace Problems and Stay Warm
Your furnace is one of those things in your house you just rely on to do its job and keep you warm. Yet, your furnace needs a little love on occasion to keep everyone warm.
Be a smart homeowner and practice regular furnace maintenance to avoid unwanted furnace problems.
If you find something a little out of your expertise level, contact us. We can help get your furnace in good working order in no time. We even offer 24-hour emergency service if you need it.